Technically, this is not a point of personal privilege, but that’s what I’m calling it.
It’s actually a bit of shameless self-promotion, and this will be the one and only time I write about it. . . maybe.
My lovely wife of 21 years became a bona fide businesswoman on April 1. Hems Plus the Tailoring Shop, located at 91 Mill St. Unit 4 is, now under new management. Diane, who has been working at Hems Plus for five years, is now the owner.
Rose Chandonnet, a seamstress of the highest order who learned the art of tailoring at the feet of her mother, the late Theresa Demers, has been a great employer and over the years has extended many kindnesses to Diane, as well as the rest of our family. When Rose decided to relinquish ownership, she only had one person in mind to take over the business — Diane.
“She’s been my partner and she puts in more hours here than I do,” said Rose.
So we went to our bank — Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union — and applied for a loan, asking God to open doors all along the way. Filled out all the necessary paperwork, jumped through a couple of hoops of flaming fire, then got the call that the loan had been approved. We, er, um, I mean, she, was on her way.
We got a little box in the mail several months ago from JDCU. It was to commemorate the opening of the bank’s new headquarters at Tremont Yard in Lowell. Maybe some of you who are reading this got the same box. I forgot about the box until we got home from the bank. I was looking for something on the bookshelf and there was the little box. The cover of the box reads; “What does it take to hold a community together?” The answer is on the inside of the box. “The memory of a strong thread.” Enclosed is a spool of bright blue thread. An omen of some kind?
Two nights later, Tom, one of my editors, handed me a copy of Sweet Warrior, Richard Thompson’s latest album. The first song on the CD is called “Needle and Thread.” Hmm.
Diane went to work for Rose in 2005, after two surgeries I had on my leg that left me bedridden for eight weeks. The time was ripe when Rose called and asked Diane if she’d be able to help her out from time to time. I had been driving my poor wife crazy for two solid months. So when I went back to work, Diane went to work for Rose.
My son Rory was 13 at the time. He didn’t like the idea of not having his mother in the kitchen when he got home from school.
“Dad, put your foot down,” I remember him telling me. “She’s supposed to be home baking cookies and cleaning the house.” Wow, did he have a lot to learn. Truth be told, he still has a chauvinistic streak that runs through him.
But back to Hems Plus. In 2007, the shop moved up the street from their former location at 1242 Lakeview Ave. to its current location in the refurbished Beaver Brook Mills. It’s a nice little shop, airy and cheerful. Sun pours through the windows and the skylight. Diane’s neighbors include the 5-6-7-8 Dance Studio, Dracut Access Television, Optometrist David Hill, Little Trends consignment shop, Hair to Stay beauty salon, Lull and Hartford sporting goods and Owen and Ollie’s Resturant, along with about 50 affordable and market-rate rental apartments.
Rose has provided a solid foundation for the business. Her mother, who died in 2005, just several months before the shop opened, had a following of loyal customers. They followed Rose when she hung her shingle out and they’ve come to know Diane.
It’s still kind of strange to think that my wife is a business owner. She’s always been dedicated to Rose and now she’s dedicated to herself, and her family. Prom season is upon her so she’ll be extremely busy. Then there are all the summer weddings. She’ll work her sweet little fingers to the bone and I suspect that on some nights she’ll be fast asleep on her chaise lounger in the living room long before Alex reveals the final Jeopardy answer. But it will be a good tired. A well-deserved sleep.
In speaking about the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, King Lemuel says, “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks for nothing of value.” Later in the chapter we find, “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” “She looks well after the ways of her house.”
It goes on to say that her husband is not ashamed to praise her in public.
Dennis Shaughnessey’s e-mail is email@example.com.